Disrupted by the layoff, my five-night beach holiday in Dubai turned into a short airport layover of two days. There are quite a few hotel options near the Dubai airport, such as the Holiday Inn Express, Aloft and Element. However I didn’t want to “downgrade” that much, so went for Le Meridien in the end.
The hotel is about three minutes’ drive from the airport, and you can actually walk if not carrying too many bags. Despite of its remoteness, the hotel is right next to a metro station so connection to downtown Dubai is easy.
Don’t confuse it with Le Meridien Fairway, which is further away from the airport and much smaller.
A Christmas tree is ready for the festive period.
Interestingly, Le Meridien is actually composed of two hotels, which is very unusual. The hotel has one building named the Royal Wing, which has its own reception, parking space, pools and club lounge, so it’s pretty much an independent hotel.
Marriott Platinum members receive an upgrade to the Royal Club Room by default.
You need to cross the main building to see the Royal Wing block.
Upon entering the building the first facility you see is the Royal Club, which is an exclusive club lounge. However, it is basically a lobby bar so feels quite different to an ordinary lounge you see elsewhere.
Royal Wing has a very different style of interior design compared to the main building. Darker colours are used everywhere to the Royal theme.
You can’t fault the service in Dubai. A porter came to pick up my luggage at the first sight and accompanied me all the way to my room. Moments after I’ve settled down, someone else brought me a huge fruit platter.
There is only one room type at the Royal Wing. The room to be honest, is a bit worn.
You can see the Aloft through the window.
The jet tub is a nice addition to the bathroom.
The best feature however, has to be the massage chair, which is total surprise. I couldn’t wait to try it out after my 10-hour flight, and it works pretty well, as the pressure is probably deeper than what some masseurs can do. If I remember correctly only Royal Club rooms have the massage chair.
The swimming pool is located on the fifth floor. It’s a small one, but being on the rooftop adds some bonus points. Someone told me you can actually see the New Year fireworks from here.
Royal Wing’s benefits are listed as follows:
Royal Wing offers complimentary one-way airport transfer if you book directly, but that doesn’t include complimentary upgrades. The charge is only 30 AED though so I opted in, and somehow they ended up not charging me.
Titanium members can choose restaurant breakfast as a welcome amenity, and I didn’t want to walk all the way so didn’t bother and decided to dine at the lounge instead.
The buffet is way below par, so go to the restaurant if breakfast is important to you.
Flyertalk’s reviews don’t speak highly of their afternoon tea so I didn’t check it out. I’m here for the happy hour though, and appetisers is limited one portion per person. You can drink as much as you want though (prices are just for reference in case you invite someone else).
If you don’t mind paying for your food, the hotel has 16 restaurants to choose from! I tried the Spanish restaurant which is quite decent and not overpriced.
As a Titanium member I get 15% discount on my bill. I don’t think it’s a regional dining benefit (like the one in Asia Pacific), so probably a nice gesture from the hotel itself.
Royal Wing guests are free to use any facility at the main building as well. There’s another lounge – Le Meridien Club Lounge, which is open to Club Room guests staying at the main building. As Elite members are usually upgraded to the Royal Wing, it tends to be quiet.
According to the staff, the catering here is identical to the Royal Wing. In fact it feels much more like a proper club lounge, and I’d rather sit here to enjoy the light if I want a change of scenery.
Besides having 16 restaurants, the hotel also has four swimming pools! You’ve already seem the Royal Club Pool, and there’s Le Meridien Club Pool which is exclusive to Club Room guests.
There are a few guest rooms with direct pool access, but privacy may not be that good.
Fitness Pool is ideal for some proper swimming training.
And finally there’s the Courtyard Pool, which is the most family and kids friendly and has a bar.
The hotel feels a bit old, and definitely not on the luxury level by Dubai’s standard. However I’ve fallen in love with the massage chair, and the restaurants and pools have impressed me. If you need to stay close to the airport, Le Meridien Dubai is not a bad choice at all.